Record keeping, disclosure and compliance

Record-keeping and disclosure requirements

What record-keeping and disclosure requirements apply to companies and relevant individuals under the anti-money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud legislation?

Financial intermediaries subject to the anti-money laundering regulations must retain numerous forms and documents evidencing that they have observed and continue to observe the documentation requirements imposed on them under the regulations. Such documents include:

  • Form A (beneficial ownership);
  • Form T (trusts);
  • Form K (controlling persons);
  • Form S (foundations);
  • information on the financial intermediary’s client history; and
  • information on specific transactions or businesses.

In case of an investigation by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority or federal or cantonal prosecutors, all relevant documentation must be disclosed to the authorities. As a rule, relevant documentation must be stored for 10 business years.


What internal compliance measures are required and/or advised for companies in relation to the anti-money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud legislation?

The establishment of an internal compliance department is highly recommended for prudentially supervised financial intermediaries and required by law under certain circumstances. Companies are well advised to establish internal:

  • anti-money laundering guidelines;
  • whistleblowing guidelines and hotlines;
  • fraud prevention directives; and
  • other similar instruments.

The requirement for such internal documentation depends on the specific industry in which a financial intermediary is active. Any such documentation must be tailor-made on a case-by-case basis.

What customer and business partner due diligence is required and/or advised for companies in relation to the anti-money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud legislation?

A number of due diligence requirements are set out in Switzerland's anti-money laundering legislation, including:

  • the Anti-money Laundering Act;
  • the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) Anti-money Laundering Ordinance 2016;
  • the Agreement on the Swiss Banks' Code of Conduct with regard to the Exercise of Due Diligence 2016; and
  • the 11 Self-Regulatory Organisations' Regulation.

A financial intermediary subject to this legislation must:

  • determine its contracting party;
  • establish the beneficial ownership in the assets involved;
  • establish the controlling persons involved (ie, persons holding 25% or more of the shares in the company); and
  • adequately document such information in its records (eg, through the aforementioned forms or through excerpts from official public resources, such as commercial registries).

Further, financial intermediaries are advised to document any non-standard incidents that occur in the context of their business relationships.

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